The Worship Quote of the Week for (05/30/2006):

Ascension and Pentecost
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE comes from one of the great pastor-scholars of our day, John Stott. I have chosen this selection because we are in those few days right between the times when Christians around the world remember the ascension of Jesus (this year on May 25) and the coming of the Holy Spirit to the nascent church (Pentecost, this Sunday, June 4).

There is no need to doubt the literal nature of Christ’s ascension, so long as we realize its purpose. It was not necessary as a mode of departure for “going to the Father” did not involve a journey in space and presumably he could simply have vanished as on previous occasions. The reason he ascended before their eyes was rather to show them that this departure was final. He had now gone for good, or at least until his coming in glory. So they returned to Jerusalem with great joy and waited—not for Jesus to make another resurrection appearance, but for the Holy Spirit to come in power, as had been promised.

—John R. W. Stott, UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE. Revised edition, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980, p. 103. (first published in 1972)

[Have you ever heard John Stott preach? Perhaps you would enjoy listening to a message on worship from Romans 11:33-36. If so, please go to and click on John Stott—“Worship.” This recording is available through the generosity of the tape ministry of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London.]

Have a great week.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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